As previously reported in The Pre s s, several intoxicated young men (who had been attending a party down the hall) tres- passed into a female suite in the We s t Apartments. These intruders severely van- dalized the common room, vomited on the f l o o r, destroyed furniture, and threw food all over the walls. When the residents came out of their bedrooms to investigate, the young men argued with them for a short time and then left. The girls called the police and the officers were soon on the scene. The girls took the officer to the party a few doors down and positively identified the vandals. However, the officers were unresponsive and didn\u2019t go so far as to even ask the suspects for their names or IDs. They told the girls that since their door had been unlocked when the vandals entered their suite, what occurred couldn\u2019t technically be considered \u201cbreaking in.\u201d The vandals then left the party, entered a car outside, and drove off. The girls point- ed this out to the officers, but still they did nothing. After knowingly allowing men who were clearly intoxicated drive away from the crime scene, the officers left, leaving the residents with the horrible mess to clean up, and no potential for justice or serious compensation.
The next day, a police report was filed. It stated that the suite residents \u201ccalled for assistance and the unidentified males were gone on police arrival.\u201d As shown above, this is incorrect. The males were not unidentified, nor were they gone on police arrival. What compelled the officer to file such a false report cannot truly be known by anyone other than himself.
Assistant Police Chief and Community A ffairs Commander, Douglas Little was unable to be reached by phone, but emails were exchanged about the incident. In the email, the incident was outlined and ques- tions were raised about the false police report, if anything had been done to address it, if any disciplinary actions had been taken towards the off i c e r, and how an o fficer can knowingly allow men to drive away while intoxicated, among other ques- tions. His response was very prompt; \u201cWe will look at the report and conduct our investigation and will speak to the com- plainants as part of the investigation.\u201d He assured that the matter will be followed up and, if necessary, proper action will be taken. He went on to state that, \u201cObviously, these are allegations of misconduct and I will not address disposition regarding any
discipline until all facts of the case are brought to light.\u201d He concluded by that that answering these questions any further \u201cwould not be prudent at this time.\u201d
This reply brings up a number of ques- tions. Not least among them is if, as he told me, these are in fact allegations of miscon- duct, yet he wont address any discipline until \u201call facts of the case are brought to light\u201d, how exactly are these new facts going to be brought to light? Who will be asked for information regarding all these facts? The officer who reported to the scene? As we can see, he didn\u2019t have his facts straight the first time he reported to his superiors. Will they ask the residents of the vandalized suite? They didn\u2019t take heed to what those unfortunate victims had to say the night of the incident. We have not found any follow up information as to who the vandals were, and it is quite possible that they aren\u2019t even students here at Stony Brook, so we can\u2019t find and ask them. In the end, there will be no new \u201cfacts of the case\u201d that the police office has not already seen or heard. And since the one chance that they had to actually catch these young men has now since gone by the wayside, what chance is there that any action at all will be taken? Attempts to reach the apart- ment building\u2019s RA and the quad\u2019s RHD for comment or any additional info yielded no results.
There are many problems that need to be addressed with the way university police o fficers handle issues here on campus. For example, as stated by the officer at the scene, apparently it is not considered breaking and entering if a door is left unlocked. If this is true, could one barg e into President Shirley Kenny\u2019s office and trash the place if she leaves the door unlocked? However, the simple fact of the matter is this: These vandals broke the law when they destroyed much of the victim\u2019s suite. They broke the law when they drove away under the influence. The police off i- c e r, on the other hand, failed to do his job. He failed to make arrests and uphold jus- tice during one of the few times he truly should have on this campus.
Students O rganization (HSO) held Creole Fest, an evening devoted to learning about the history of Haitian culture, music, and the origins of the word \u201cCreole\u201d on February 26, 2007.
Muldy Flecher, a senior at Stony Brook and public relations officer for the HSO, said that an event like Creole Fest would be beneficial for everyone on campus. Now that Haiti has become an independent nation, groups like the HSO, which has been at Stony Brook for over 20 years, have a \u201cright to show how revolutions came about,\u201d Flecher said.
HSO Secretary, Fayonne Hyppolite, said that young Haitian Americans do not know enough about Haitian history. Now a sophomore, Hyppolite joined the HSO during her freshman year because she thought the group served the impor- tant purpose of \u201ceducating the masses.\u201d
Hyppolite\u2019s pride in her culture, she said, is evident in her nickname, Haiti. \u201cYou can\u2019t be around [her] without speaking some type of Creole\u201d, she said.
The event, which was held in SAC Ballroom B, began with poetry readings by students. Vanessa Cheris, a sopho- more, read a poem featured inO p e n
Haitian poems with English transla- tions. The poem,Ayiti Demen, trans- lates to Haiti Tomorro w in English. Both the Creole and English versions were read aloud at Creole Fest and received applause from the almost 40 people in attendance.
Cheris, who joined the HSO last year, said that her reasons for joining includ- ed wanting to educate the Haitian com- munity, increasing pride, and \u201cbeing part of things that relate to her.\u201d
University Cultural Center in Roth Cafe, according to the HSO website, \u201cusually provide an opportunity to share stories about what it is like to grow up as a Haitian American.\u201d
Following the poems, there were still a number of events up ahead, including power-point presentations about the his- tory of Haiti, and the beginning of the Haitian music called kompa, also referred to as Compas Dire c t. There was also an interactive game where audience members could guess \u201cWho is the Haitian?\u201d Celebrity faces popped up on screen and spectators ventured guesses as to which one of them was actually Haitian. Celebrities who were subject to judgment ranged from Wyclef Jean, who is of Haitian ancestry, to Paris Hilton, who is\u2026not. There was also a discussion about the origins of the term \u201cCreole\u201d which arose from the French and Spanish ancestry of Haiti.
Gabrielle Negri is a commuter who said she tries to make it to meetings and events whenever she can. She was happy about the diverse number of peo- ple she met as a member of the organi- zation. \u201cThe best thing about Haiti,\u201d Negri said, \u201cis that we come in so many different shades.\u201d
Billie Hector, the president of HSO, felt it was important to have this event to celebrate Black History Month because it fulfilled the key objective of the group.
\u201cOur purpose,\u201d Hector said, \u201cis to teach people of other ethnicities about Haiti and further enlighten Haitians who are eager to learn even more about their own culture.\u201d
Both the Creole and English
versions were read aloud at
Creole Fest and received
applause from the almost 40
people in attendance
\u201cWe will look at the report
and [...] speak to the com -
plaintants as part of the
On Tuesday, February 27th, a suicide bomber hit Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan while Vice President Dick Cheney visited the base. Though the bomber only got as far as the air base\u2019s front gate, which was a mile away from the Vice President, the explosion was close enough to the Vice President that he later reported hearing a \u201cloud boom.\u201d Immediately after the blast, Vice President Cheney was escorted to a bomb shelter where he stayed for a short time, and the base went on \u201cRed Alert\u201d signaling that the facility was under direct attack.
Though the Vice President was not injured, the explosion is reported to have killed 23 people. Notable fatalities included one U.S. soldier and a twelve y e a r-old Afghani boy. The name of the suicide bomber, who also perished, was Mullah Abdul Rahim. Soon after the attack, the Taliban claimed responsibili- ty and reported that their target was indeed Vice President Cheney. However, U.S. officials believe such a claim to be fallacious. The Guardian has quoted U.S. Major William Mitchell as saying, \u201cThe vice- president wasn't even supposed to be here overnight, so this would have been a surprise to everybody.\u201d The Major doubts very much that the Taliban could have truly known the whereabouts of the Vice President. This view is bol- stered by the fact that the suicide bomber did not even try to get past U.S. security checkpoints, but rather detonated near a group of Afghani civilians.
The attack did not seem to faze the iron- willed Cheney, who went on with is itinerary after the chaos in the base had subsided. Hours after the attack, the Vice President flew to the Afghani capi- tol, Kabul, to meet with the
Hamid Karzai. They no doubt talked about the security situation in Afghanistan. Cheney\u2019s
Afghanistan visit was only one leg of his multi-nation central- Asian tour, which was shrouded in unusual secrecy. This added secu- rity may be due to con-
cerns about the apparent strengthening of Al Queda, the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations in the region. Indeed, It is believed that one of Cheney\u2019s main goals in his meetings with Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was to underscore the need to secure outlying territories of the region, which have long been strong- holds of various terrorist groups and their tribal supporters.
An attack so close to such a major state official has incited further ques- tions about the security situation in Afghanistan and about the Afghani state\u2019s ability to maintain order and crack down on terrorists within its bor- ders. The U.S. has characterized the sig- nificance of the bombing as mainly symbolic, having no real impact on the situation on the ground (the families of those who were murdered notwithstand- ing). Nonetheless, the attack under- scores the presence of a Taliban, which is still apparently alive and well and that is able to carry out devastating attacks deep within areas controlled not simply by the Afghani state, but by the U.S. military. Yahoo! News quoted Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan at the RAND Corporation, as saying, "to exe- cute such an attack on such short notice requires a well-developed network of suicide bombers and handlers that can react quickly.\u201d Though U.S. officials, notably White House Spokesman Tony Snow have characterized the attack as an isolated incident, with spring just around the corner, a more general ter- rorist offensive will no doubt soon ensue.
It may be a little premature to call the White House a sinking ship, but with Scooter L i b b y \u2019s conviction and new information about politically-motivated firings of U.S. Attorneys, to say that the Bush administration has hit rough waters would be an understate- m e n t .
Lewis \u201cScooter\u201d Libby, Dick Cheney\u2019s for- mer Chief of Staff, was found guilty on March 6th for his role in the Plame aff a i r. Bush administration officials leaked to the media the identity of Valerie Plame, a high-level spy for the CIA, in retaliation for her husband Joseph Wi l s o n \u2019s editorial criticizing Bush\u2019s plan for war in Iraq in 2003. Robert Novak wrote that Plame was holding non-off i c i a l cover in Niger.
Found guilty on four of five charges (two of them counts of perjury, one obstruction of justice, and two for making false statements), Libby faces up to 25 years in prison. Several jurors told the press after deliberation had ended that they saw Libby as the scapegoat for Cheney and his advisor Karl Rove, but still saw Libby as a guilty man nonetheless. Libby maintains that he is not guilty in the leak and only learned of it from NBC\u2019s Tim Russert, but Russert testified that it was the other way around. Libby\u2019s defense had been pushing to the jury that Libby was set up as the fall guy for not being loyal enough to Cheney, saying that Rove and Cheney were the first to leak that information.New York Ti m e s r e p o r t e r Judith Miller had been sent to jail in contempt of court for protecting her source, but eventu- ally revealed notes that she discussed the Plame affair with Libby shortly before the public release of her name as a CIA o p e r a t i v e .
L i b b y \u2019s sentencing is planned for June, and legal analysts are putting it in the ballpark of two years. After Libby\u2019s conviction, while his lawyers read a statement on their disappoint- ment in the conviction, a reporter brazenly called out, "Are you willing to go to prison to protect Vice President Cheney?" Many cyn- ics expect Libby to be one of Bush\u2019s pardons during his last days in office. Liberal com- mentators have suggested that the W h i t e House will front that \u201cjustice has been served\u201d and that the case would be closed, leaving Karl Rove and Dick Cheney free from indict-
ment or further concern of their roles in the Plame aff a i r. However, The Wa s h i n g t o n Times has made mention of the slim possibil- ity of Cheney\u2019s resignation as the fall guy for everything from Plame to Iraq, and to \u201csave\u201d the Bush administration\u2019s remaining tenure.
Meanwhile, the tossing overboard of some political deadweight has become rather embarrassing flotsam for the Bush administra- tion, and now Attorney General A l b e r t o Gonzales may be forced out of his position. In D e c e m b e r / J a n u a r y, eight U.S. attorneys were dismissed by the Justice Department for what is called \u201cperformance-related issues.\u201d Many observers balked at this, saying that it was likely that the attorneys were not politically in line with the Bush administration\u2019s plans and had been purged like disagreeable members of a Soviet Politburo. On March 6th, Congress began hearings on the controversy.
Carol Lam, who worked in the Southern District of California, was asked to step down supposedly for not pursuing enough cases on illegal immigration. However, she secured a high-profile indictment against Republican Representative Duke Cunningham (R-Ca.) who resigned after it was uncovered that he had accepted $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors.
Former New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias has become the most prominent name in the firings, reportedly for his unwillingness to participate in a pre-mid-term election indictment of a congressional Democrat. Iglesias testified that Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Representative Heather Wi l s o n (R-NM) had called his office in mid-2006, pressuring him to indict this congressperson before the November 2006 Congressional e l e c t i o n s .
Iglesias was fired reportedly for absen- teeism, but he is a naval reservist who must spend about 40 days a year with the Navy. He testified to Senator Schumer (D-NY) that \u201cit's very ironic, since the Department of Justice enforces the Uniform Services Employment Rights and Reemployment Act, which ensures that Guard members and Reserve members have full employment rights and are not dis- criminated against on the basis of their mili- tary aff i l i a t i o n . \u201d
When the Patriot Act was renewed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2006, a provision in it now allows the A t t o r n e y General to appoint U.S. attorneys \u201cindefinite- l y,\u201d effectively circumventing the U.S. code requiring Senate approval. Senator A r l e n Spector (R-PA), who is ironically responsible for this provision, has now suggested in light of the firings that \u201cone day there will be a new attorney general, maybe sooner rather than l a t e r. \u201d
Scooter Libby Guilty,
Attorney Fi r i n g s
A reporter brazenly called
out, \u201cAre you willing to go to
prison to protect Vice
Now bringing you back...
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